India’s 10 per cent rich share 55 per cent of the national income, making it the second most unequal region after the Middle East
Income inequality has been rapidly widening in India since the 1980s. Credit: Wikimedia Commons
India emerged as the second most unequal region in the world after the Middle East, according to the World Inequality Report 2018. The 10 per cent of super rich population share 55 per cent of the national income of the country. In the Middle East, the world’s most unequal region, the top 10 per cent hold 61 per cent of the national income.
The report says that in European countries the share of the rich is 37 per cent of the national income, making it a low unequal region in comparison to the rest of the world. Brazil and sub-Saharan African region stand equal to India followed by US-Canada (47 per cent), Russia (46 per cent) and China 41 per cent.
The aim of the report is to fill a democratic gap and start informed public debates on inequality. It relies on the collective efforts of more than a hundred researchers, covering all continents, who contribute to the WID-World Wealth & Income Database.
According to the report, income inequality has been rapidly widening in North America, China, India and Russia since the 1980s.
The income inequality trajectory observed in the United States is largely due to massive educational inequalities combined with a less progressive tax system.
The report points out that top one per cent share 33 per cent of the total wealth whereas the bottom 75 per cent has only 10 per cent of the total wealth.
The report states that wealth is more concentrated than income. The top 10 per cent own more than 70 per cent of the total wealth in China, Europe and United States. The bottom 50 per cent own less than two per cent. The middle 40 per cent (the global wealth middle class) own less than 30 per cent.
The report warns that if the trend of wealth inequality continues then 0.1 per cent of the world population would own more wealth than the global middle class by 2050. There has been a general rise in net private wealth in recent decades, from 200–350 per cent of national income in most rich countries in 1970 to 400–700 per cent today.
Conversely, the net public wealth (that is, public assets minus public debts) has declined in nearly all countries since the 1980s. In China and Russia, public wealth declined from 60–70 per cent of national wealth to 20–30 per cent. Net public wealth has even become negative in recent years in the United States and the UK, and is only slightly positive in Japan, Germany and France.
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